I just returned from a trip through Scotland and, I have to say, I fell madly in love. If you've never been, I highly recommend a trip. It took everything I had in me to return when I did and I am an American to my very core. But something about Scotland really spoke to me. Actually living there might be different, and I could never leave the USA permanently, but a summer home sounds like a grand idea to me.
My parents joined me on the trip and it was such a wonderful experience to share with them. We took a guided tour with COSMOS and I'm so glad we did. The tour began in London and went up to Edinburgh, up around the East coast to Inverness, then over to the West coast to the islands and down to Glasgow, then back to London. We also spent a few extra days in London on our own which was nice as well. But being on a guided tour made all the difference for me. Not only did I not have to drive on the wrong side of the road in unfamiliar territory when I already have a strong tendency to get lost, but the historical and geological information that was imparted to us by our totally phenomenal tour guide, Peter Scott, was one of the best parts of the trip. Everything we saw he had information on. We received historical information on every castle and every point of interest. We received the story on the uprising of the '45 as we went by Culloden Battlefield. We received the geological information on cliffs and the stark, bare mountains of the highlands. We learned about the clearing of the clans and why the highlands are so sparsely populated now. It was brilliant! Our accommodations were good though the plumbing was so interesting that it will get it's own blog.
The islands were my favorite part of the trip and the photos that I took just cannot do them justice. Everywhere you looked it was beautiful and awe inspiring. I've been home less than 48 hours and already want to return. The only downside to the trip was a group of 10 that were inconsiderate to the other travellers and insisted on speaking while our tour guide was talking. My mother took to smacking them with her cane to get their attention and then telling them to shut up. It was pretty entertaining. It appears some of them didn't speak English well and were unable to whisper. They pretty much figured that if they were done listening then nobody else needed to listen either. That group did serve the purpose of bonding the rest of the travellers though. And the others on the tour were great. It was wonderful to meet people from all over the world and share the experiences with them. There are several that I plan to keep in contact with.
There will be many blogs in the days to come on this trip, but the one thing I wanted you to know was how much I really, really loved it. If you're looking to take a trip overseas but don't know where to go or what to see, I recommend a guided tour. And if you can get Peter Scott as your tour guide count yourself very, very fortunate. The true benefit of a guided tour is not just the information the guide imparts, but it acts like a recon mission to see a bit of everything so you can decide what you want to see more of. For me, that means the Scottish Hebrides. I will definitely return there at some point in my life, and the sooner the better.